Capitals stun league leaders Perth in fairytale finish

Through the most daring of hands, the Canberra Capitals have pulled off the most unlikely of victories.

A season that started with so much promise was supposed to end with a whimper when the Capitals met the league-leading Perth Lynx at the National Convention Centre on Friday.

Someone clearly forgot to give Canberra the script as they stunned the Lynx in a 74-69 thriller to cap off their season with a fairytale finish.

With Perth eyeing a 15th straight win in Alice Kunek's 200th WNBL game, Capitals coach Paul Goriss knew it had to be a grind if his side was to prevail.

He was left beaming.

"Finishing the season winning five out of six, it's a great way to finish," Goriss said.

"It's also disappointing that it had to end so early for us because I still believe we had the group and we had the team to be a top four team. It's disappointing in a way that we're not in finals and we can beat a team like Perth??? we're up there and we're heading in the right direction.

"We've unearthed some great superstars of the future in Ezi and Maddy so all bodes well for us. It's disappointing we're not making playoffs but a terrific way to end the season."

It could mark Canberra captain Nat Hurst's final outing in a Capitals uniform as she prepares to reassess her future following a stint in Poland.

The seven-time championship winner and newly-crowned most valuable player overcame a middle ear infection to take her place in the line-up, and it was one to savour for the 34-year-old veteran.

However at times it was a season that had Goriss scratching his head as he searched for a way to turn things around.

From Rachel Jarry's string of concussions to fourth quarter fade outs and controversial refereeing decisions, it was almost a case of "what more could go wrong".

But the Capitals were always going to fight until the final whistle, with Jordan Hooper leading the way with 24 points and six rebounds.

"It's kind of disappointing that it had to end now that we're finally clicking and we've finally found our way and everything but a great way to end the season," Hooper said.

"Last game you're kind of excited about the end of it, and now that it's over you're sad that it's over, I'm sad that it's over. It was different excitement I guess."

Canberra started brilliantly to take a 12-point lead into the first break, much to the delight of a huge home crowd which would have rivalled the biggest turnout of the season.

The margin peaked at 15 early in the second quarter before a Sami Whitcomb-inspired Perth kicked into gear to close the gap to five at half-time.

Eziyoda Magbegor played a starring role in the third quarter to give the hosts a 55-46 lead heading into the last.

In a season where Canberra's fourth quarter fade outs have become a problem, this was shaping up as their toughest test.

Up by three against the best team in the league with less than a minute left on the clock, Hooper stepped up with a clutch shot to extend the lead.

Mistie Bass nailed two late free throws to put the game beyond one shot, and before long the final whistle blew with Perth helpless to stop it.

Perth's championship aspirations are still alive with a clash against fellow title hopefuls Townsville coming up on Sunday, before their playoff campaign gets underway against Melbourne on January 3.

For the Capitals, they have earned the right to celebrate a stunning upset before the journey to redemption begins.

This story Capitals stun league leaders Perth in fairytale finish first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.